Making sure you get the most out of an online conference (or meeting)

General video conferencing housekeeping  

  • Engage in respectable conversations  
  • Dress appropriately 
  • Always mute your microphone when not speaking 
  • If possible, please use headphones with microphones, as it improves audio quality 
  • You may wish to turn on live captioning, which will be a feature during the conference 
  • Set a reminder and join 5 minutes ahead of time 
  • In case the session is being recorded – which would be announced – you may wish to switch off your video 

Tips for video calls and online conferences 

Most of these tips are valid for both online conference and online video calls with fewer participants. 

Before the conference 

  • Familiarize yourself with the platform or software 
  • Do you have to download an app or plugin? If so, do it before the conference! 
  • Will the video and/or microphone be on by default when you join? Is there video at all? 
  • How can questions and comments be submitted? Will you be able to speak or ask your question in a chat? 
  • Does the chat send to all participants by default? Note: even private messages may show up in the chat transcript in the end. 
  • Set up your space – if you have a camera, what will it see? 
  • Test your equipment – do your microphone and camera work? 
  • Open or print the conference schedule or meeting agenda 

During the conference 

  • Mute your microphone when you’re not talking! 
  • Make a brief note of the speakers or participants – this makes it easier to know who’s talking  
  • Be present and don’t do other work during your conference or meeting – multitasking is exhausting and will leave you with less energy to follow either task 
  • Decide on how to take your notes – on paper, in a notebook, on your laptop? Don’t change between meetings or sessions so you can keep track of them later 
  • Make yourself heard, ask questions and give meaningful comments – it may be more or less difficult or intimidating than an in-person event 
  • Jot down the points you want to ask or raise – it sometimes takes a while to be called on to speak in an online setting 
  • Say your name when you start to speak (unless you can be sure that all participants know each other’s voices well enough) 
  • Speak clearly – some participants may have slower internet connections or language barriers 
  • Be active on social media during and after the conference – but don’t spend too much time or you won’t be able to follow what’s happening 
  • Check that quieter team members or participants are being heard as well 
  • Get email addressestwitter handles or other contact details of participants or speakers whose work interests you 

After the conference 

  • Process your notes and create a short memo for yourself, with most the important ideas, names or tasks that you took away; file that memo somewhere you’ll find it again 
  • Connect with speakers or participants via email if you have follow-up questions or discussion points 
  • Fill out conference surveys to help organisers improve future events 

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